News

Sean McDaniel to join SPERI to work on ‘economic justice’

Sean McDanielSean McDaniel will join SPERI from 1 July as part of our support for the Commission on Economic Justice established by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The Commission was set up to rethink economic policy for post-Brexit Britain. This agenda has long been at the heart of SPERI’s mission, and Sean’s existing research on social democratic politics across Europe – and, increasingly, the implications of Brexit for political economy– mean that he is well-placed to make an important to contribution to the Commission’s work.

Sean’s research will explore several aspects of the contemporary UK political economy around which SPERI’s work for the Commission will focus:

(a) Ownership of firms and organizational types
(b) Combining paid and unpaid work, and closing gender, class and ethnic minority gaps
(c) The subnational settlement: institutions, policies and fiscal powers
(d) Developing the local community-based economy
(e) Fiscal, monetary, infrastructure and trade policy frameworks
(f) Measuring and understanding the economy
(g) Taxation: share of GDP and progressivity of the tax system

This is an exciting and very valuable agenda to which SPERI is very pleased to contribute.

20 June 2017 by
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SPERI joins the debate at the OECD Forum in Paris

SPERI researchers attended the OECD Forum in Paris on Tuesday 5th June to debate and discuss our work on inclusive growth.

The OECD Forum is a major international conference held in Paris each year at the OECD’s headquarters. Representatives from government, business, civil society and academia from across the OECD’s 35 member countries and around the world come together to debate the most pressing global social, political and economic issues.

Colin HaySPERI Co-Director Colin Hay was one of 8 panellists in a main plenary session at the Forum that discussed inclusive growth and globalisation.

Watch the video of the discussion at http://ocde.streamakaci.com/062017/ (It runs between 16.45 and 18.15).

The session was chaired by Thomas Bernt Henriksen, Swedish economics editor and commentator, and alongside Colin the panel included:

  • Gabriela Ramos, Chief of Staff, G20 Sherpa & Special Counsellor to the Secretary-General
  • Tim Costello, Chief Advocate, World Vision Australia
  • Hans Dahlgren, State Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister Sweden
  • Lizette Risgaard, President, Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC)
  • Alfredo Thorne Vetter, Minister of Economy and Finance, Peru
  • Rodrigo Valdés, Minister of Finance, Ministry of Finance, Chile

Inclusive growth is high on the agenda of the OECD and was a major theme at the Forum. Each panellist gave their perspective on inclusive growth stressing the importance of defining precisely what we mean by inclusive growth. The discussion covered issues such as the importance for the public and private sector to work together, whether the GINI coefficient is a useful metric to measure inclusive growth and how to redistribute wealth more equitably.

Read Colin Hay’s recent SPERI blog on why inclusive growth is the challenge of our time.

Craig Berry, SPERI’s Deputy Director, and Tom Hunt, SPERI’s Policy Research Officer, also attended the Forum. At the Forum Colin, Craig and Tom met with the teams in charge of the OECD’s work on inclusive growth and the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) initiative. They discussed future research collaboration between SPERI and OECD on inclusive growth and further collaboration between the OECD, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth and SPERI. SPERI is the research partner of the APPG on Inclusive Growth. Read the APPG-SPERI publication ‘The state of the debate’ here.

7 June 2017 by
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The New Political Economy of Oil

SPERI is delighted to report two new publications that explore in different formats the changing political economy of oil and the place that oil now occupies in the economic and political predicaments that confront the West.  Both are authored by Helen Thompson, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and an Honorary Research Fellow of SPERI.

The first publication consists of a new book published by Helen in SPERI’s Palgrave Pivot series entitled ‘Building a Sustainable Political Economy; SPERI Research and Policy‘.  The book is called Oil and the Western Economic Crisis and is now available in e-form at http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319525082.

The second publication consists of a SPERI Global Political Economy Brief entitled ‘Oil: The Missing Story of the West’s Economic and Geopolitical Crises‘ in which Helen summarises the core features of her new research in a format that is quick and easy to digest.

Global Political Economy Brief No. 9 is available to download here.

1 June 2017 by
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SPERI at the European Parliament

Charlie Dannreuther, Claire Pickerden, Tom Hunt, Owen Parker, Lucia Quaglia, Scott Lavery and Craig Berry

SPERI held the fourth of a workshop series on Brexit (funded by the White Rose Consortium) at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event, entitled ‘Regions, Cities and the EU after Brexit: Towards a ‘multi speed’ Europe?’, included leading academics and practitioners from the UK and the EU with notable contributions by Professor Jan Zielonka from the University of Oxford, author of Is the EU doomed?, and Linda McAvan MEP.   The event was focused around the European Commission’s recent White Paper ‘The Future of Europe’ which examined five possible futures for the European Union.

Scott Lavery, SPERI Research Fellow, opened the worshop by introducing some of the findings of the research undertaken by SPERI. Professor Jan Zielonka followed Scott giving his perspective on the pitfalls associated with EU integration, arguing that the European institutions have yet to change structure since their inception. He argued that the current model of integration has been broken by rising Euroscepticism and that the only way for the EU to rejuvenate itself is to refocus integration around cities and regions.  Professor Zielonka emphasised networks between regions and cities as the new mode of integration, arguing that Europe would be more connected, not less, as a result.

Dr Owen Parker, Associate Fellow of SPERI and a former Commission employee in DG Enlargement, then led the debate, asking as to the feasibility of Jan Zielonka’s ideas of new networks actually being established.

Linda McAvan MEP responded, claiming that nation states still have a lot of power and still hold important responsibilities such as defence. She also questioned who would govern the networks that Professor Zielonka had been referring to. She argues that politics was still needed to solve issues at the European level.

Dr Ania Skrzypek from the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, a centre-left think tank based in Brussels, brought a new angle into the debate, emphasising that it has been the failure of the EU to properly relate to the voters that has given rise to Euroscepticism. She claimed that it is the rise in less secure jobs and the failure of social democratic parties to properly address this issue that has mostly contributed to the need for reform in Europe.

SPERI’s latest Paper, The Political Economy of Brexit and the UK’s National Business Model, is available to download here.

1 June 2017 by
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New SPERI Paper: The Political Economy of Brexit and the UK’s National Business Model

Today SPERI publishes a new research paper entitled ‘The Political Economy of Brexit and the UK’s National Business Model’. The paper draws together contributions from a series of workshops which ran throughout 2016 funded by the White Rose Consortium.

The paper includes contributions from the three organisers of the workshop series, Scott Lavery (SPERI, Sheffield), Lucia Quaglia (York) and Charlie Dannreuther (Leeds) as well as contributions from Gabriel Siles-Brugge (Warwick), Nicole Lindstrom (York), Ben Rosamond (Copenhagen), Scott James (KCL) and Jonathan Perraton (Sheffield).

The paper offers an overview of the political economy of Brexit across a number of policy areas, including finance, trade, investment, the labour market and regional development.

Written in the period between the June 2016 vote and the March 2017 Article 50 ‘trigger’, the paper provides a summary of some of the key challenges and tensions as the UK embarks upon the process of exiting the EU.

Download SPERI Paper No. 41: The Political Economy of Brexit and the UK’s National Business Model.

30 May 2017 by
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The long-term impact of the state pension ‘triple lock’ | New Brief

Pension 'triple lock;A new report published today by SPERI finds that the impact of the pension ‘triple lock’ is modest and should be maintained.  In this new Brief, Craig Berry explores the merit of the criticism the triple lock attracts by considering the policy’s long-term impact on state pension outcomes; in short, the triple lock is assessed as a pensions policy, not simply a pensioner policy. The analysis places the triple lock within the context of the wider operation of the UK state pension system for different age groups, after comparing the UK state pension system with those of other developed countries. The analysis finds that concerns about the state pension triple lock being too expensive, or unfair on younger generations, are misplaced. The Brief argues that the triple lock helps to nudge the value of the state pension towards the OECD average – albeit arguably far too slowly – and considers, finally, other policy options that might mean that the same goal can be achieved in a more fiscally sustainable manner.

Dr Craig Berry, SPERI deputy director and author of the report, said:

“Young people are the main beneficiaries of the triple lock. There are several options the government could pursue to enhance the value of the state pensions today’s young people will become entitled to when they retire – but few have the elegant simplicity of the triple lock.

“The underlying problem with the triple lock is that the 2.5 per cent lock only applied when the economy is experiencing a downturn. The government could therefore look instead to over-index the state pension when the economy is in good health. This would enable the same policy goals to be achieved without jeopardising the long-term interests of today’s young people.”

The full report can be downloaded here. Through its series of British Political Economy Briefs, SPERI hopes to draw upon the expertise of its academic researchers to influence the debate in the UK on sustainable economic recovery.

18 May 2017 by
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Brexit and the environment panel discussion co-hosted by SPERI

On Friday 12th of May SPERI, together with the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, hosted a panel discussion ‘Brexit and the Environment – Opportunity or a threat?’. The event was part of the Festival of Debate and was well-attended by the public.

The panel consisted of Dr Apolline Roger (Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sheffield), Kate Jennings (Head of Site Conservation Policy at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), James Copeland (Environment and Land Use Adviser at the National Farmers Union, North-East region), and Paul Blomfield (Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sheffield Central). The event was chaired by Daniel Bailey of SPERI.
The panel opened with each of the panellists giving a short talk on their views on Brexit and the environment, bringing up points on where they saw the major threats and opportunities that Brexit may bring about for the British natural environment. The general consensus across the participants was that whilst there are many potential threats, it is hard to find opportunities though this is not impossible. The uncertainty brought about by Brexit featured widely, irrespective of the point of view the panellists represented.

Once the panel had voiced their views, the floor was opened to questions from the audience which sparked a lively discussion. The discussion covered a wide range of issues including land use in farming, the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy, the right scale of governance at which decisions about the environment should be made and whether it will be possible for the UK to have more ambitious and stricter environmental regulations post-Brexit, among many others. The event successfully increased awareness of the difficult and complex issues around Brexit and the environment that will unfold over the coming years.

16 May 2017 by
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Colin Hay speaks to Radio France Internationale about the UK general election

Professor Colin Hay, Co-Director of SPERI, was interviewed by David Coffey of Radio France Internationale about the surprise UK general election.

Listen to the interview in full here or watch below. The topics that Colin discussed included the current levels of public support for the Conservatives and the Labour Party, the likelihood of a second independence referendum in Scotland and the potential that Brexit could lead to the unification of Ireland.

11 May 2017 by
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The post-crisis political economy of young people across Europe | New SPERI research project

With its tenth anniversary approaching, it is clear that the 2008 global financial crisis has had significant ramifications throughout Europe that are still being felt today. Many European economies remain stagnant, with sluggish wage growth and increasing labour market precariousness. Although all age cohorts have been affected by the specific impacts of the crisis, young people across Europe in particular are among the groups most affected, in part because they will live with the aftermath for longest, and in part because of the crisis’ specific impact on their socio-economic circumstances.

We are pleased to announce a new SPERI research project that will investigate the post-crisis political economy of young people across Europe today, and the role played by the crisis in explaining their situation and the emergent politics of intergenerational fairness. It will look at questions such as:

  • How young people have responded to crisis across Europe, and the extent to which such responses have been framed as being for as well as by young people.
  • How political elites have responded to young people’s socio-economic circumstances, and the ways in which intergenerational issues have been framed by elites.

We have secured new funding for the project from the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) as part of our ongoing research partnership.

We are also very pleased to announce that Kate Alexander Shaw will be joining SPERI as a postdoctoral research fellow to lead the new project which will run throughout 2017.

Kate is currently at the LSE where she is completing her doctoral research. She has previously worked as a policy analyst at HM Treasury and the Greater London Authority. Her most recent publication Organized Combat or Structural Advantage? The Politics of Inequality and the Winner-Take-All Economy in the United Kingdom (co-authored with Jonathan Hopkin) was published in Politics & Society in 2016. You can find out more about Kate on her SPERI profile page.

The new project will form a central part of SPERI’s Young People and Generational Change research programme which is led by Craig Berry and Colin Hay, as well as contributing to our European Capitalism research programme. It will also complement and link in with FEPS’ ‘millennial dialogue’ research programme.

5 May 2017 by
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A timely event on Thatcher’s legacy

Last week SPERI hosted a rare screening of ‘Generation Right’, a documentary about Margaret Thatcher and her legacy. The film is one of the outcomes of the research led by Stephen Farrall and SPERI Co-Director Colin Hay which analysed the political attitude of children who grew up under Thatcher.

A large number of students and members of the public came to the Diamond to see a film rich in archive footage which put the current election campaign into perspective.

The film was followed by a panel debate with The Rt Hon. the Lord  Blunkett, Baroness Lister of Burtersett, Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough, Andy Beckett, journalist and author of ‘Promised You A Miracle: Why 1980-82 Made Modern Britain’ and Stephen Farrall, Professor of Criminology at the University of Sheffield. The panel was chaired by SPERI Professorial fellow Andrew Gamble.

It was argued that Thatcher exploited changes that were already happening around the world (consumerism, home ownership). The country was already moving to the right but the acceptance of ‘inevitable losers’ in society led to an sharp increase in inequality. Thatcher’s policies made poor people even more dependent on the state today and the credibility of the changes she introduced are diminishing. What is missing today is a coherent alternative to the neoliberalism she embodied.

5 May 2017 by
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New Global Political Economy Brief published

We are pleased to publish another SPERI Global Political Economy Brief – No. 8 in the series.  The authors are John Mikler and Ainsley Elbra, both of the University of Sydney, and the title of their Brief is Paying a ‘Fair Share’: Multinational Corporations’ Perspectives on Taxation.

In the Brief Mikler and Elbra address the issue of global corporate tax avoidance and consider how multinational corporations (MNCs) can be made to pay their fair share of tax.  They focus in particular on the strategies to avoid taxation deployed by Apple and Google and consider in depth the public enquiries undertaken in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom into the methods of avoidance adopted.

The authors conclude that:

  • Governments must take the lead in developing effective taxation regulations, rather then relying on self-regulation or working with MNCs;
  • Global corporate tax avoidance is not caused by market forces, but by the nature of regulatory competition between states;
  • As the major headquarters for MNCs, including those most heavily implicated by their aggressive tax avoidance strategies, the United States must take the lead in regulating them to pay their fair share of tax at home and abroad.

The paper can be downloaded here.

3 May 2017 by
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New vacancy: Research Assistant at SPERI

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a part-time research assistant to join SPERI and work alongside deputy director Dr Craig Berry on research linked to the Commission on Economic Justice established by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The successful candidate will be based at SPERI and will join our dynamic community of researchers. The project will primarily entail exploring the relevant political economy literatures that relate to the following aspects of the contemporary UK political economy around which SPERI’s work for the Commission will focus:

(a) Ownership of firms and organizational types
(b) Combining paid and unpaid work, and closing gender, class and ethnic minority gaps
(c) The subnational settlement: institutions, policies and fiscal powers
(d) Developing the local community-based economy
(e) Fiscal, monetary, infrastructure and trade policy frameworks
(f) Measuring and understanding the economy
(g) Taxation: share of GDP and progressivity of the tax system

The successful applicant will be an experienced academic researcher with a background in political economy and/or related social science disciplines.

This is a fixed-term post from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017. It is expected that the research assistant will have working hours of 21 hours per week during this period. For more details about the role, and to apply, please visit:

Salary: Grade 6 (£25,298 – £29,301 per annum pro-rata) Closing date for applications: 16 May 2017

The reference for the post is UOS016119.

Applications must be made online through the University job portal.

Interviews will take place in late May or early June. Questions about the position can be directed to SPERI’s administrator, Laure Astill (l.astill@sheffield.ac.uk).

2 May 2017 by
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SPERI presents at Fabian Society conference in Sheffield

SPERI professorial fellow Andrew Gamble and research fellow Scott Lavery contributed to the Sheffield Fabians conference on Saturday 29th April.

Andrew spoke on a panel alongside Lord Maurice Glasman (Labour Peer) and Paul Blomfield (Sitting MP, Sheffield Central) on Brexit and its implications.

Scott spoke on a panel alongside Richard Caborn (former trade minister, adviser to Advanced Manufacturing Park) and Leigh Bramall (former Deputy Leader, Sheffield City Council) on regional economies and investment.

You can listen to all of the panels at the conference here.

2 May 2017 by
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New video interview: Professor Tony Payne on inclusive growth

Professor Tony Payne, co-director of SPERI, recently sat down with Liam Byrne MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth, to discuss the importance of inclusive growth.

Watch the video here:

Find out more about SPERI’s partnership with the APPG on Inclusive Growth here. Sign up to receive updates from the APPG at www.inclusivegrowth.co.uk

26 April 2017 by
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Labour and work in the modern economy | New SPERI and openDemocracy collaboration

SPERI and openDemocracy have launched a new collaboration to explore the themes of labour rights and worker organisation in the modern economy.  Work for many people is changing fast with concerns about low pay, casualisation and insecurity central to current policy debates. Issues and questions connected to the ‘gig economy’ and ‘platform-working’ have increasingly come to dominate academic and policy discussions about the nature of work in the modern economy.

Our new collaboration with openDemocracy will explore these themes and will be led by Tom Hunt, SPERI’s Policy Research officer. The first part of the collaboration will see a new series of articles on these themes published jointly on the SPERI Comment blog and openDemocracy’s Beyond Slavery and Trafficking hub. The hub explores issues of labour, work and exploitation and was founded and is co-edited by Genevieve LeBaron,  SPERI Research Fellow and leader of our research programme on ‘Labour and Work in the Global Political Economy’.

Tom is curating the new series and has written the first article in the series which you can read here.

Over the coming weeks the series will feature a range of contributions from expert authors from organisations including the International Labour Organisation, the Resolution Trust and the New Economics Foundation.  Contributions will also come from leading academics working in this field and crucially from those in the labour movement who represent today’s workforce.  They will include long-established pro-labour organisations like the Trades Union Congress as well as smaller, newer organisations like the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB).  The authors will examine questions such as:

  • How are trade unions and new pro-worker organisations, in the UK and around the world, adapting to the ‘gig economy’?
  • What lessons can UK workers and trade unions learn from alternative forms of worker representation around the world and new forms of organising?
  • How can technology be used by unions and workers to enhance rights and achieve pro-labour outcomes?
  • Do terms such as ‘employee, ‘self-employed’, ‘worker’ and ‘freelancer’ adequately describe today’s jobs and offer appropriate legal protections?
  • Are more flexible, non-standard forms of employment changing people’s attitudes towards work – especially younger workers entering the workforce today?

To find out more please contact Tom Hunt

7 April 2017 by
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Register for ‘Brexit and the environment: An opportunity or a threat?’

Registration are now open for a new public event on Brexit and the environment taking place on Friday 12 May 2017 at 5.30pm in the Diamond.

The EU has championed environmental causes, but it hasn’t been perfect. This event will look at whether the increased sovereignty post-Brexit will create a threat or an opportunity to achieve environmental goals. Join politicians, policy-makers and EU law experts to discuss whether the UK environment will be better off after Brexit.

Speakers:

  • Dr Apolline Roger, School of Law, The University of Sheffield
  • Paul Blomfield MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central
  • Kate Jennings, Head of Site Conservation Policy, RSPB
  • James Copeland, Environment and Land Use Adviser for the North East Region, National Farmers Union
  • Chaired by Daniel Bailey, SPERI

This event is part of the Festival of Debate: www.festivalofdebate.com

5 April 2017 by
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SPERI holds policy roundtable to explore Brexit, Article 50 and the views of EU business

On Friday 31st March SPERI celebrated the publication of our latest Global Political Economy briefs by holding a policy roundtable event at the University of Sheffield. The roundtable, funded by the ESRC, “Understanding EU Business views on Brexit”, brought together a select group of representatives from academia, employer organisations, business and policy advocacy groups to discuss our latest briefs: ‘Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin: Post-Brexit Rivals to the City of London?’ and ‘EU Business Views on Brexit: Politics, Trade and Article 50’. The former brief on the City of London has been covered by the Guardian newspaper here.

Key speakers at the event included Alex Cobham (Chief Executive of the Tax Justice Network), Neil Foster (National Research and Policy Officer at the GMB union), Mick Moran (Professor of Government at the University of Manchester Business School) and Allie Renison (Head of Europe & Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors). The event was chaired by SPERI Associate Fellow Dr Desiree Fields from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography.

The roundtable was opened by SPERI co-director Professor Tony Payne before Dr Scott Lavery, the project leader, summarised the findings of the two new briefs. They argue that (a) powerful firms and business interest groups are likely to have a significant influence over the shape of the Article 50 negotiations and (b) that despite the widespread acknowledgement that the City of London is likely to remain dominant after Brexit, there is a consensus coming from Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin that opportunities exist for them to attract vulnerable sub-sectors from the City. Dr Fields then invited each speaker to share their thoughts on Brexit in general and on the SPERI policy briefings in particular, before opening up to a ‘roundtable’ format.

The panel noted that while Brexit had presented a moment of catharsis and an opportunity to ‘take stock’ of Britain’s industrial strategy considerable domestic and international barriers remained, with Brexit potentially amplifying already existing problems with the UK’s economic model. The panel also discussed how Brexit is likely to lead to sectoral divergence amongst the UK’s businesses with some areas of trade and commerce proving to be more resilient than others in the face of a potential loss to the single-market. Finally, the issue of deregulation of the City of London was discussed. While there was a general consensus that the UK’s exit from the EU could potentially result in a regulatory ‘race to the bottom’ there was a general feeling that Brexit would not result in a ‘bonfire of regulation’. Likewise, it was agreed that although there would be some kind regulatory equivalency adopted by City regulators post-Brexit this would not result in the adoption of exact standards but rather regulatory co-operation.

3 April 2017 by
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Book Launch of ‘The Political Economy of India’s Growth Episodes’

The Political Economy of India’s Growth Episodes‘ authored by Sabyasachi Kar and Kunal Sen and published in the SPERI Palgrave Pivot series was launched in New Dehli with a keynote speech by Dr Naushad Forbes, President of the Confederation of India Industry (CII). Read the coverage in the Asian Age: Post-Independence Growth gets a fresh perspective.

The book breaks down the last 65+ years of Indian development into several episodes of growth, providing a rich set of insights into the political economy of the Indian development process. The first of these episodes, running from the 1950s to 1992, was mostly characterised by economic stagnation, with a nascent recovery in the eighties. The second, covering the period 1993 to 2001, witnessed the first growth acceleration in the economy. A second acceleration ran from 2002 to 2010. The fourth and final episode started with the slowdown in 2010 and continues to this day. The book provides a theoretical framework that focuses on rent-structures, institutions and the polity and demonstrates how changes in these can explain the ups and downs of growth in India.

3 April 2017 by
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New SPERI Briefs: Understanding EU Business Views on Brexit

Two new SPERI Global Political Economy Briefs are published today. The first Brief, Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin: Post-Brexit Rivals to the City of London? assesses the strategic positioning of alternative financial centres in the aftermath of Brexit. It shows how three major rivals to the City are organising to attract ‘low hanging fruit’ from London.

Read coverage of the Brief in the Guardian: ‘EU financial centres vie to poach tens of thousands of City jobs

The second brief, EU Business Views on Brexit: Politics, Trade and Article 50 analyses the positions of key employer organisations within Germany, France and Ireland in relation to Brexit and their trading relationship with the UK.

Authored by Dr Scott Lavery and other SPERI researchers, the two briefings draw on a review of over 300 German, French and English language policy documents, policy papers and press briefings between the EU referendum in June 2016 and March 2017.

The Briefs draw a number of conclusions:

On the City of London and it’s EU rivals:

  • Although it is highly unlikely that alternative financial centres in the EU will replace the City of London as Europe’s premier financial centre, certain financial market activities are potentially vulnerable to relocation after Brexit.
  • Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin have all identified euro-denominated clearing, fintech, asset management and financial regulation as ‘low hanging fruit’ which could be relocated after Brexit.
  • Private and public sector actors within these alternative financial centres have taken concrete steps in order to benefit from Brexit. France has been particularly aggressive, making changes to its tax code and advancing programmes designed to draw in financial sector investment in the wake of Brexit.
  • Additionally, key actors in all three alternative financial centres are using Brexit as leverage to to agitate for pro-business tax cuts and regulatory reforms both domestically and at the EU level. The body representing Paris’ financial sector, for example, has called for a “competitiveness and attractiveness shock” to the French economy in light of Brexit, organised around corporation tax cuts and reductions in taxes on bankers’ pay.
On EU business views on trade with the UK and Article 50:

  • The EU Business Views on Brexit Brief identifies the five export sectors across Germany, France and Ireland which are most exposed to a worsening in the terms of trade with the UK.
  • There is evidence that businesses within these sectors – and business organisations more broadly are seeking to retain as close a trading relationship with the UK as is possible. There is little appetite for the UK to be ‘punished’ for its decision to leave the EU lest this impacts negatively on trade surpluses with the UK.
  • However, EU business groups are also clear that the UK should not receive ‘special treatment’ which compromises the integrity of the Single Market. German employer organisations in particular are concerned that excessive concessions to the UK could precipitate further instability within the EU.

3 April 2017 by
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Industrial Strategy Commission holds evidence session at the AMRC

On Wednesday 29 March the Industrial Strategy Commission, which is led jointly by SPERI, held an evidence session at Factory 2050, part of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield. The session was attended by 50 representatives of businesses in Sheffield City Region and by academics and policymakers.

Keynote speakers at the event were Julie Kenny CBE DL and Paul Houghton, two leading local business figures and board members of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. Paul and Julie shared their views on what a new industrial strategy should focus on. Paul argued that a new industrial strategy must have 4 key features: it must provide certainty for businesses; it must provide clarity for businesses; it must be entrepreneur-led and it must be focused on the needs and strengths of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Julie stressed the importance of long-term investment in order to help SMEs grow and how she believes devolution is vital to ensuring a new industrial strategy is a success.

A wide ranging discussion then followed and attendees shared their views and ideas about what a new industrial strategy should focus on. Amongst others, the themes discussed included: how best to ensure new devolved powers are used to support industrial strategy aims; the opportunities and risks presented by Brexit; how to encourage a long-term investment mindset; how to improve procurement in the public and private sector to increase competition and value; the skills and investment needs of SMEs; the opportunities to improve health and social care by utilising the expertise of medical technology companies.

The event at the AMRC was just one of a series of events, meetings and evidence sessions that the Commission is holding in the coming weeks. These events will help to inform the Commission’s work and engage with the public, policymakers and key industry stakeholders. Find out more about upcoming evidence sessions and how you can attend. The next event is in Manchester on 4 April and will focus on health and social care.

All of the ideas and comments from the evidence session at the AMRC will be considered by the Commissioners and used to inform the Commission’s recommendations and analysis. Details of how to submit evidence to the Commission are available here. The submission deadline is 2nd May 2017.

The Industrial Strategy Commission is led jointly by SPERI and policy@manchester. It is an authoritative inquiry into the development of a new, long-term industrial strategy for the UK. Dr Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI, and Professor Richard Jones, SPERI Associate Fellow and Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, are members of the Commission team. Tom Hunt, Policy Research Officer at SPERI, is managing the Commission’s work.

30 March 2017 by
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